A week in Shropshire, June 2014

 

We got back from the Brazilian bay Northern Meet on Sunday ready to make a quick turnaround and to head to Wentnor in Shropshire on Monday for a week at The Green Caravan Park.

We’d been to Shropshire a couple of times before, staying in Little Stretton and Bishops Castle but this was our first time so close to The Long Mynd.

We arrived about 2.30 after a pleasant enough journey – it was nice not to be heading too far on the M6 for a change – we left at the M56 and headed down towards North Wales. The site wasn’t quite what we were expecting and had no local public transport, so we’d have to move the van to visit places. Alison had picked it because she was keen to try out the Frontier Stove in the Glawning and, despite the site not allowing fires, she’d checked with them on the phone when she booked and they said it would be OK. As it turned out we didn’t use it anyway as the weather was good and we didn’t want to disturb our carvanning neighbours with our woodsmoke.

We had the tent up in 45 minutes this time and we know we’ll be even quicker next time. We also trimmed the groundsheet to fit so that will make life easier too.

There were very few people on site during the week, which had the disadvantage of the reception shop not being open too often either. It wasn’t too much of an issue as there’s a shop in the village, a pub next to the site and an even better one (The Crown Inn) 15 minutes walk away (admittedly up a fairly steep hill).

Camp Absinthe with obligatory dog shot

We walked up to the pub on Tuesday evening only to find it was closed. Fortunately, the landlord was watering his plants outside and took pity on us. It was 5pm and they weren’t due to one until 5.30pm but he got us a drink anyway. We went back on Friday night to eat and it was very busy – the speciality pies were great though, as was the beer from the Three Tuns Brewery in Bishops Castle.

We went to Church Stretton on Wednesday and, as we often do, left Boris tied up whilst we went into a shop. I’d fastened him to a boot scrape in a little lane next to the shop and he was happily chewing a hide chew he’d picked up on his travels that morning. I always fret about him when we leave him, so popped out after 10 minutes to make sure he was OK, only to find that he’d gone! Cue, panic!

I walked over to the place I’d left him to find this sign next to his chew:

I was sure this would be a ransom note

I went into the yard of Berry’s Coffee House and found him, as happy as Larry, with a bowl of water and lots of attention. Apparently, someone had seen him and was concerned that the lane gets an occasional car down it and they were worried about his safety.Phew…

We bought fish and chips in the town and then drove a couple of miles to the National Trust area at Carding Mill Valley. It was lovely along the valley and we parked next to the stream and ate our lunch, before walking up to the NT visitor centre for a pot of tea.

 

We headed back to the van and drove over the Long Mynd towards the Gliding Centre. It’s quite a climb, with spectacular views over the countryside.

If going up the Mynd was steep, then going down was even steeper. I don’t do heights but Alison was driving so we were perfectly safe, although what we’d have done if a caravan had come the other way is anybody’s guess. Apparently, SatNavs regularly send caravanners on this route – rather them than me!

Evenings in the van were spent catching up on the Box Set of Breaking Bad – it’s gripping stuff and we’ve watched quite a few episodes/series now. It’s not a bad way to spend an evening with a glass of red or a G&T. Reception on the TV wasn’t good enough to watch the World Cup which was probably a blessing in the circumstances.

Thursday meant a trip into Ludlow for the Food market and to visit the Castle.  I really like Ludlow, it’s got a decent range of shops and there’s a nice buzz about the place. We bought some things for lunch from the market then wandered around the castle for an hour or so. We actually ran out of time in the car park so had to leave earlier than planned, although a phone call from the Loquacious One occupied Alison for another 45 minutes.

Ludlow Castle

We’d passed Ludlow Food Centre on the way into town so decided to stop off for a browse on the way back. It’s a great place with a huge selection of local products – we’d definitely recommend it if your in the area.

The weather took a turn for the worse on Thursday night and we’d lost the sunshine on Friday morning. We set off for Bishop’s Castle and spent a few hours in the quirky shops, so Alison could buy some things for the Glawning. 

Bishops Castle
 

The entrance to the Town Hall
 

The sun appeared for a while although there were some ominous claps of thunder and it started to rain as we left the car park to head to Clun. It was still raining when we arrived, but not for long ,and we were able to walk up to the castle with Boz, before having a meal in the Tea Room.
Driving over Clun bridge

Wet schnauzer
Man hides poo bag behind back for photo opportunity
As if one isn’t enough…
We moved on from Clun to Montgomery – we’d never been before although I vaguely remember seeing it on Countryfile. Its a lovely little town (with yet another Castle) and we pottered round the shops for a while before driving up to the castle.
As soon as I pulled into the Castle car park I was set upon by two very direct Safrican ladies demanding to know the full history of Absinthe. They “knew” she wasn’t a “proper” Kombi by the sound of the engine, apparently. Fortunately, I was in a chilled mood, so remained civil and didn’t mention their treatment of Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko…

Montgomery
Great views from the Castle
One life, live it…
A lady in one of the shops in Montgomery, told Alison about a Food Festival in Shrewsbury on Saturday so we headed there in the morning. It was quite cool with rain on the way but cleared up a little later. The Festival was excellent with lots of different stands but, from Boris’s point of view not enough dropped food for him to hoover up!
Polly’s Parlour – they’ll be at Camperjam next weekend

In search of a plaster for her blister – don’t think the St John’s people were too pleased…

Boris wasn’t impressed by the size of these cocks

We spent a couple of hours there, before heading back to the campsite for the final time, but not before stopping off in Welshpool on the way back We needn’t have bothered – there wasn’t much there and quite a few of the shops were closed. We managed a pot of tea (we usually do) and then drove back.We didn’t even visit the castle (what’s the betting it would have been the best one?)
Back at the site, there’d been another Kombi visiting and it was a beauty – the chap had re-built it with his brother and it looked great. He did admit that engine-wise it wasn’t reliable and regularly broke down. Thank goodness we went for a Brazilian. 
Kombi love

Nice steering wheel 😉
We’d been chatting to a couple from Somerset during the week, swapping places to visit and they took a few photos of Absinthe for their daughter. They promised to have a look at the Blog but I’m ashamed to say that I can’t remember their names. I suspect he was a John but I could be wrong. To make amends here’s a photo of their tent!

The site became incredibly busy at the weekend. It seems to be popular with extended families from the Birmingham area and I was particularly thrilled when one little chap decided to race his remote controlled car up and down the field at some ungodly hour of the morning, bless him. 
There was a dog walk beyond two camping areas called Dingle One and Dingle Two, which was great for Bozzer but not as easy to use once the Dingles were full of tents. They looked like great pitches for groups to use though – out of the way and right beside the stream – great for small children. 
Dingle One and Dingle Two
The drive home on Sunday was uneventful and quite calm – again a relief not to be going up the M6. We stopped at the services at the end of the M56 and had a coffee whilst yet more people admired Absinthe and the little trailer. 
A really relaxing week before the mayhem of Camperjam – just what we needed.
There’s a full set of Photos here: Flickr
What did we learn?
  • Very little really on this trip, although Shropshire could be added to the list of potential retirement venues if it ever happens!
I thought I’d add an ornithological list to some posts, so here goes for Wentnor:
  • Buzzards (loads)
  • Dipper
  • Red Kite (spectacular flight right over our heads)
  • Tree Creeper in Dingle 2
  • Red legged Partridge

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